Uncrewed Systems Technology 051 l Primoco One 150 l Power management l Ocius Bluebottle USV l Steel E-Motive robotaxi l UAVs insight l Xponential 2023 p Issue 51 Aug/Sept 2023 art 2 l Aant Farm TPR72 l Servos l Tampa Deep Sea Barracuda AUV

70 “As you wrote in your previous cover story on the A800, we use UAV Navigation’s Vector autopilot and its flight planning software Visionair,” Freeman says. “The VNS01 is integrated via their autopilot, and is based on what that new product’s integral camera sees during the day and the night. It significantly reduces GNSS drift for us and so expands our users’ capabilities in GNSS-denied environments.” While the A800 used a single-cylinder two-stroke running on unleaded gasoline, the A900’s power plant is a two-cylinder boxer engine capable of running on gasoline as well as heavy fuels. The latter is a key draw for maritime operations and users for whom JP-5, JP-8 and other heavy fuels are safer owing to their higher flashpoints, so they do not pose as high a fire hazard as gasoline to ship crews. “Also, the EFI on the A900 is our own design, manufactured in Spain, and it’s through software reconfigurations in the EFI that we adapt the engine for running on one fuel or the other,” Freeman adds. ISTAR Over the world’s oceans and land masses, UAVs are becoming ubiquitous for performing intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) duties on behalf of military organisations. Given the onerous pre-flight maintenance and inspections crewed ISTAR aircraft have to go through before being cleared for launch, demand is rising for UAVs tailored for rapid, ad hoc deployments, to enable defence forces to respond quickly and flexibly to signs of potential threats. Accordingly, Aeronautics has developed its Orbiter 5 UAS. The company unveiled this latest version of its tactical fixed-wing UAV platform at the 2023 Paris Air Show, and placed a particular emphasis on its capacity to operate multiple high-end payloads simultaneously, as well as its ability to be launched and recovered without the use of runways, given how vulnerable such infrastructure can be during conflicts. With a 6 m wingspan and 2 m length, the Orbiter 5 is much larger than its predecessor, the Orbiter 4 (featured in issue 37, April/May 2021), which is 1.2 m long and 5.2 m wide, and weighs a maximum of 55 kg. The Orbiter 5 has a 75 kg MTOW and can take up to 25 kg of payloads, including maritime patrol radars, COMINT (comms intelligence) systems, electronic warfare systems and EO/ IR gimbals with laser rangefinders and pointers. 600 W of dedicated electric power is available for them. At the time of writing, the Orbiter 5 was being launched using a portable catapult, with soft landings achieved by a combination of an underbellydeployed parachute and dorsally inflated airbags, much like the Skyeton Raybird-3 (issue 38, June/July 2023) for example. Together, they flip the UAV onto its back as it approaches the ground, ensuring that the gimbal at the front is protected from impacts with the ground. In addition to being fully autonomous through flight and recovery, the Orbiter 5’s controls, AI and aerodynamics have been optimised for flying in adverse weather conditions and GNSS-denied environments. Telecoms relay The Zephyr solar-powered HAPS UAV has been featured several times in this magazine. However, it has always been as a research and demonstration programme, rather than a product or service offering commercial, military or humanitarian value in a regular and repeatable manner. That is now poised to change. As of mid2022, the Zephyr division of Airbus (as it was then known) was renamed and spun out as Airbus HAPS Connectivity Solutions, its aim being to provide persistent aerial telecoms relay services. Earlier this year, the August/September 2023 | Uncrewed Systems Technology The 75 kg Orbiter 5 is designed for launching from a portable catapult, with a parachute and air bags for landing, enabling flexibility for front-line ISR missions (Courtesy of Aeronautics) Bridging the gap between, say, Starlink and other LEO constellations is now viable, as we’ve proven through our Zephyr testing programme